Older drivers not necessarily safer

The general view that inexperienced drivers pose a greater safety risk on the roads is a misconception (Greater safety risk with inexperienced drivers, by Mr Chua Boon Hou; July 11).

And with two recent fatalities involving young Uber drivers (out of a yearly average of 150 fatal road accidents), the perception that young drivers tend to be reckless is going to be mistakenly reinforced.

One only needs to watch taxi drivers - all of whom are above 30 years of age - in action, speeding, changing lanes indiscriminately and so on, to be convinced that experienced drivers are not necessarily safer or better on the roads.

Taxi drivers are presumably the most experienced drivers, considering the number of hours they spend daily on the road.

In fact, from anecdotal data, I find that newly qualified drivers normally follow traffic rules to the letter, including keeping to the speed limits and ensuring a safe distance between cars, after passing the stringent driving tests.

The 30-year-old minimum age requirement for cabbies was set to prevent an undesirable situation where most school leavers would gravitate to taking taxi driving as an easy full-time job.

This appears to be what is happening, with the introduction of Uber and Grab. In the long-term, I think this will stifle the growth of our economy.

Lim Chee Khiam

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2017, with the headline 'Older drivers not necessarily safer'. Print Edition | Subscribe